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The Seniors Brought It Back: The Class of 2016’s Legacy
Kevin Chen '18 Associate Editor
May 25, 2016
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Last spring, the seniors launched the “Bring It Back” campaign in an attempt to revitalize school spirit and the sense of community at Deerfield. Class Dean Kevin Kelly said, “In the spring of 2015, the rising seniors met on the stairs of the Main School Building. The cheerleaders led the Class of 2016 through the typical cheers we hear year after year. Suddenly, Charlie Carpenter silenced the crowd: ‘We’re going to make next year special, we’re going to bring it back, and the only way to bring it back is for all of us to buy in!’ The crowd went wild!”

Charlie Carpenter ’16, holds the position of Captain Deerfield; a position generally associated with representing school spirit. Carpenter said, “‘Bring It Back’ means bringing back the sense of school pride that was standard in the Boyden era. In my opinion, the measures of school pride are the tightness of the community and the amount of support for others within the community.”

Provided by Deerfield Academy Flickr

Provided by Deerfield Academy Flickr

Serena Ainslie ’16, another major contributor to the “Bring It Back” campaign, explained the origins of the movement: “My dedication to the ‘Bring It Back’ campaign really began when I toured Deerfield in 8th grade. I still remember how unbelievably excited I was when my tour guide told me about Choate Day, the cheerleaders and how Deerfield’s school spirit brought the community together. This was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Deerfield…That spirit permeated all aspects of campus life.”

Ainslie explained that after her freshman year, there seemed to be a newfound “attitude of listlessness and even resentment…The loss of school spirit was a campus wide topic of conversation, yet no one seemed to be doing much about it.” At the end of her junior year, she heard sophomores saying that the Class of 2016 was going to be a bad senior class.

This moment was Ainslie’s call to action. She stated, “When I heard this, I was infuriated… On the night of the stepping-up bonfire, Bella [Hutchins ’16], Charlie and I… vowed to respect the legacy of 2013 and try to be to the rest of the school what 2013 was to us our freshman year. So, at the stepping- up bonfire… ‘Bring It Back’ was born.”

Mr. Kelly commented on the Class of 2016’s success in this endeavor: “Since day one of this school year, the Class of 2016 has… questioned, challenged, and changed some long-standing traditions at the Academy. They embraced gender equality issues, invited the girls to join the boys at hockey games, shaped how the student body should conduct themselves at sporting events, supported theater, dance, and music performances throughout the year, all while being positive role models to our younger students.”

Jiwon Shin ’17, the Deerfield orchestra concertmistress, agreed: “I think that the seniors did bring it back this year.” Shin noted the increased attendance at orchestra concerts this year, saying “We appreciate the support at our concerts from the seniors and others in the community.”

Mr. Kelly explained what he thinks truly made the campaign a success: “You have been very much aware and committed to developing the ‘collective you.’ Without the ‘collective you,’ the school fails. It is, and will always be, the small, consistent, daily acts of kindness, respect, and caring that show your collective personality. The ‘collective you’ has demonstrated just how much you love each other and love DA.”

Ainslie further explained, “As graduation approaches, I… feel so proud to be a part of [the Class of 2016]. I’ve been thinking a lot about the legacy I’m going to leave, and how long that legacy will last. I think back to 2013 and realize that their legacy is still here. Their attitude inspired 2016 to bring it back, which hopefully [will] continue to inspire this community to show their love for Deerfield. That’s what I think it means to be worthy of your heritage. School spirit is the connection that all of us have to every class that came before us. It’s the common thread that makes Deerfield a place that we all love, that we all call home.”

In a message addressed to the senior class, Dean of Students Amie Creagh remarked, “You…have yet again raised the bar on what senior leadership means. True to form, you have demonstrated a willingness to adhere to some basic expectations without losing sight of all the fun senior spring should entail. Our younger students are lucky to have had you as the new standard bearers.”

Thomas Song ’19 agreed: “I’m a freshman, so I can’t compare how school spirit was this year compared to last year, I think that the seniors have really fostered a sense of school spirit and have been excellent role models.”

Student Body President Claire Petrus ’16 summarized the lasting significance of the campaign: “The ‘Bring it Back’ campaign has been successful in reviving the Deerfield tradition of school spirit… [It] has shown that, as a student body, we are capable of uniting behind one cause. This same passion and energy should be used not only to embrace the heritage that makes Deerfield unique, but also to resolve issues, like the gender culture, that negatively impact our school.”

Looking towards the future, Petrus also urged, “Although this emphasis on tradition has been beneficial, it’s also important to know that as a school we are not only defined by our history. We shouldn’t be afraid to modernize certain aspects of the school’s culture just because they are ‘tradition.’”

To the Class of 2016, Mr. Kelly said, “As your dean, I will never forget any of you. You are a very special group, and Deerfield will always be your home. Selfishly, I hate to see you go, but the timing to move on and leave Deerfield is appropriate. Good luck in your future and be worthy of your heritage!”